November 2019

PS Advisor: Cure for the Ventilating Rudder

Got a really fast boat? Zipping along at over 10 knots there are any number of ways air can suck down the leeward side of the blade, spoiling the coanda effect. When planing there are often some air bubbles under boat. If the boat assumes a bow-down attitude under the pressure of the spinnaker or as waves pass, the transom can come a few inches out of the water. Above 15 knots there’s enough suction…   More...

Webbing Uses For Sailors

When a sailor needs to connect point A to point B, he reaches for rope. We make an exception for jacklines because rope rolls under foot and webbing doesn’t.   More...

Stowing Clear Plastic Windows

Some clear vinyls are sensitive to scratching, as has been revealed in our multiple tests. And, if not protected from the sun, it can yellow and grow brittle over years. For years we’ve been directing readers to roll their clear plastic in cotton sheets to prevent scratching, but the patented Clearstow bag offers a more practical solution. The patented Clearstow “bag” is constructed like a giant ex   More...

Sailing Books for 2019

Just when you thought it was safe to go back into the bookstore, three of Practical Sailor’s highly regarded contributors (past and present) have published works to warm your heart through winter.   More...

Superlight Helmet Suits Sailors

Subscribers Only — Primarily known for mountaineering and industrial climbing gear, sailors know Kong for the robust Tango tether clip used on most safety tethers (See “Safety Tethers Under Scrutiny,” PS March, 2018). In addition to climbing gear, Kong also makes anchor swivels, mooring hooks, and snap shackles. Here, in an update to our July 2019 report, we look at their new helmet.   More...

Clean Potty Overkill?

Subscribers Only — It’s not sailing, but we’ve got to talk about it because it’s not fun when it goes wrong. The head. We’ve reported on the best hoses, joker valves, toilet paper, and holding tank treatments. Recently readers have asked about cleaners that are safe, and sure enough, over the years we’ve run into evidence that improper cleaning can do real harm.   More...

Can Diesel Damage Fuel Lines?

Given the tiny amount of fuel it takes to clear the jetty and hoist sail, our 50-gallon fuel supply can last, quite literally, for years. It certainly lasts through the winter, and all the while, we worry that sludge is growing.   More...

Cannister Dissection Yields Surprises but Few Defects

Different filter manufacturers can chose different rating systems that rely on different statistical values for filtration. The higher the percentage at a given rating, the more effective. Interestingly, the effective rating changes over time, as particles clog up the media, making the holes smaller.   More...

Marine Fuel Filter Test

Subscribers Only — Diesel engines have evolved into incredibly reliable power sources. Change the oil, mind the charging system and batteries, and most importantly, always give them clean fuel. First there is diesel bug. Bacteria and fungus (not algae—that is incorrect nomenclature) can infect the tank, feeding on the diesel and producing volumes of tank-, line-, and filter-clogging biomass with the consistency of snot. It can be prevented by the regular use of biocides (see PS August 2013), but…   More...

Fire Escape Hoods for Boats

Subscribers Only — In case of fire, obviously there are times when quick retreat is the only plan. If gasoline, propane, or even a can of WD-40 is likely to become involved, you need to go. Fiberglass ignites fast, so only incipient fires are worth fighting. Of course, if you are sailing and aware, this is the only sort of fire you should face. Thus, assuming the engine is diesel and the propane is shut off at the tank, which is also some distance away, you have a few minutes.   More...

Four Solvents for Nearly Every Boat Job

As with cleaners (see “One Bucket Cleaning Kit,” May 2017) it’s easy to be over-specific with solvents. Pretty soon, we end up with a zillion cans in the paint locker. While we would probably pay extra for the “magic” vendor-specific blend for a topside paint job, we’d not be so selective for every single small varnish, fiberglass, or similar job that comes up. For these everyday jobs, a few generics can do the trick.   More...

Online Help for Autumn

It’s getting to be that time of year, when many skippers haul out or head south. Fall also heralds the beginning of boat show season. Here are some PS articles from the online archives that will help you weather the changing of the seasons.   More...